Juliana Felisberta Silva is a beach volleyball player competing at the 2012 London Summer Olympics for Brazil.

Brazil's Juliana Felisberta Silva is the most decorated beach volleyball player never to have competed at the Olympics; she makes her debut in London with longtime partner Larissa Franca. In 2008, Juliana and Larissa were slated to be one of the top three seeds at the Beijing Games, but Juliana withdrew days before the Opening Ceremony because of an injury to her right ACL. She originally hurt her knee about six weeks before the Games and declined surgery with the Olympics so close, instead undergoing physical therapy to strengthen the muscles surrounding her knee. She competed in Austria a week before the Olympics, but after winning four matches, Juliana and Larissa had to withdrawal. With Juliana out, Larissa partnered with Ana Paula Connelly in Beijing. Juliana now describes the knee as "perfect."

Ten years ago, before she really got into her professional career, Juliana also injured her left knee. But now, she says, she has no pain in either knee, and her latest injury has tremendously helped her mental game. "I'm really confident and my play is completely different," she says, adding, "Now I'm playing (with) feeling. (Before 2008) I just play, not feeling some points, like what to do next point. I just play, play, play. Now I'm feeling. I know about what to do next point… My mentality, it's 100 percent better." Juliana is also more focused on the present. "I live point to point, month to month, day to day, step by step… It's my big dream (London) but I not think about it 100 percent of the time every day like Beijing. I have to enjoy my life and play."

Juliana and Larissa have won more international tournaments than any other women's duo in history (44). In 2009, they won eight international tournaments, a women's single-season record that was the best ever until Americans Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser won nine men's FIVB events in 2010. Juliana and Larissa have won the FIVB World Tour championship six of the last seven years — 2005, '06, '07, '09, '10 and '11 — and thus, are gold-medal contenders for the London Games. Juliana was named the FIVB's Most Outstanding Player from 2009-11. In March 2012, Juliana and Larissa won their 100th career tournament: 42 FIVB titles, 56 on the Brazilian national tour, and two Pan American Games gold medals.

Despite finding success for years, Juliana and Larissa had never won an FIVB world title until 2011, when they came from behind in the third set of the final to defeat three-time world champions and two-time Olympic gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings of the U.S. However, Juliana and Larissa had won a medal at each of the three world championships in which they previously competed together. They lost in the gold-medal match at the 2005 Worlds to May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, and took bronze at the 2007 Worlds after losing to China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie in the semifinals. In 2009, Juliana and Larissa returned to the final, but again were beat by an American pair, this time Jen Kessy and April Ross. Juliana also appeared in the 2003 Worlds in Rio de Janeiro and placed ninth with 1996 Olympic gold medalist Jackie Silva.

While Juliana and Larissa have long dominated the World Tour, they can't yet claim to be the world's best when compared to May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings. After five opening losses in head-to-head matchups, Juliana and Larissa scored their first win over the Americans in the final of the Acapulco Open in October 2005. Through 2010, the Brazilians' overall record against May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings was 4-12. But the duos met six times in 2011 — May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings' first season together since 2008 — and Juliana and Larissa prevailed five times, including a 3-1 mark when they met in a gold-medal match. In two matches this summer before London, each duo won once.

Overall, Juliana and Larissa have won 44 of the 105 FIVB events in which they've competed, and landed on the podium in another 36 international tournaments. They also won gold at the Pan American Games in 2007 and '11. Juliana and Larissa's first FIVB title came on July 10, 2004 in Mallorca, Spain, their sixth event together. They were supposed to be paired by the Brazilian federation earlier in their careers, but injuries delayed it: Juliana was dealing with a left knee injury in 2002-03, while Larissa had disc problems in her back in 2004.

When Juliana first saw Larissa play beach volleyball, she wasn't impressed. But "after a time, when I saw she play well and really smart, I changed my mind," Juliana says. "And now I think she's the best one (in the world), and for me." When asked why they play so well together, Larissa says, "I think it because (we) work very hard six hours (a) day and five day (a) week. And strong mental, very strong. Both of us."

Juliana first started playing volleyball competitively because it was a way to avoid going to gym classes at school. Before that, she had only played for fun when on vacation. In the first indoor event she played, her team won the championship. By her third event she was selected as the team's top player. Juliana's beach career began when she was invited to train in Fortaleza, more than 1,800 miles north of her hometown in Santos. She made her FIVB World Tour debut in 2003 with Jackie; they placed 25th at a Grand Slam in Los Angeles and ninth at the world championships in Rio. Juliana also played in the 2002 and 2003 FIVB Junior World Championships with Taiana Lima; the pair won gold in '02 and took fifth in '03.

Juliana estimates that she's probably at her home about four months total per year, and when she is home she likes to spend time with her friends and family. She is the youngest among six siblings; she has three sisters and two brothers. Her oldest sister is in her 50s and her oldest brother is almost 40. Thus, Juliana has a lot of nieces and nephews. In her free time, she likes to rest, watch movies and cook. She enjoys cooking seafood, primarily shrimp and calamari.


How tall is she? How old is she? Where does she live? Find out here.

Age: 33 years old
Birthday: July 22, 1983
Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 143 lbs.
Birthplace: Santos, Brazil
Current Residence: Fortaleza, Brazil

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